LeBron James has clearly entered Year 17 and Year 2 with the Los Angeles Lakers on a mission.
After suffering the worst injury of his career during the 2018-19 NBA season, causing the Lakers to miss the playoffs, many wrote off James as ‘washed’ due to the amount of mileage he’s racked up in the league.
However, it has been a very different story. Through 12 games, the Lakers look like the team to beat in the NBA at 10-2 and James is leading the NBA in assists. And while there are a number of reasons why James could be playing the way he is so far, everyone will have their own theory.
Two anonymous scouts believe that James looks motivated because the Lakers actually have a chance to win the 2020 NBA Finals, according to Mo Dakhil of Bleacher Report:
Two NBA scouts agree that James looks “locked in” and “motivated” this season. One of them added the reason: “The why? He saw last year that his team wasn’t going to have a chance. This year, he sees he has a team that has a real chance.”
James definitely looks more motivated than Year 1, especially on the defensive end. However, there are likely multiple reasons for that — beyond just the theory the two scouts had.
For one, Anthony Davis is the best teammate James has ever played with and he’s in a contract year. Playing his best basketball to keep Davis with the Lakers is certainly something to be considered.
James is also healthy (something that he wasn’t for over half of last season) and feels like he doesn’t need to do quite as much in order for the team to be successful.
In the end, James is simply a great player and even when he looked unmotivated last season, he still played great basketball.
That has yet to change and it likely won’t change anytime soon for one of the greatest players to ever play the game.